Technical Architect/Developer to lead build of an alpha system for managing catalogue data using RDF (TA)

Closing date for applications: 09/11/2020
Specialist role
Technical Architect
Summary of the work
After a successful discovery, we now need an expert Technical Architect and Lead Developer to help us implement an alpha of a new pan archival catalogue, developing a solution meet the users’ needs, using AWS Neptune and Elasticsearch.
Latest start date
Expected contract length
5 to 8 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Maximum day rate
Early market engagement
We have run a discovery phase leading to plans for an alpha using AWS Neptune and Elasticsearch. You can read more about the project: The discovery produced a proposal for a new Catalogue Data Model using RDF, a new identifier scheme, and transformation routines for the existing data to the new model. We have held workshops identifying the key ways that staff managing the catalogue work with the data and what they would like in future. The archivist needs to search, analyse, add to, correct, edit, enrich, and enhance record descriptions so that the catalogue is properly maintained. The archivist needs to work with catalogue entries individually or as large sets, making (or reversing) bulk changes, so they can work efficiently. The archivists need to understand the version history of the catalogue so they can be confident about where the information has originated.We have investigated all the current databases that hold catalogue data and how they inter-relate. We have investigated a wide range of existing data standards and ontologies. We have documented all the findings in a detailed published report.
Who the specialist will work with
The specialist will work with an RDF Developer (another specialist being recruited at the same time). The core in-house team consists of a data analyst, two senior archivists and the Head of Cataloguing, Taxonomy and Data. The specialists will also work with a wider group of users, archivists across the organisation responsible for the management of the catalogue.
What the specialist will work on
We are developing a pan-archival catalogue, bringing together record descriptions from multiple catalogues into a single new system. We are looking for a technical architect and developer to lead the development work on an alpha catalogue management system. This work will involve developing API functions to search, select, add, export, edit, import and delete catalogue data; developing search for use by expert users (using SPARQL in combination with Elasticsearch); developing an Extract, Transform, Load process to migrate The National Archives catalogue data from multiple relational database (SQL Server) and RDF databases to a cloud based native RDF database (AWS Neptune).
Address where the work will take place
Whilst mainly working remotely, the Catalogue, Taxonomy and Data team is based at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU
Working arrangements
Given the situation with COVID-19, remote working will be the main arrangement for this project. Some work may be conducted at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, but only when it is appropriate and safe to do so.
Security clearance
Baseline security clearance will be required.
Additional terms and conditions
How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
-Have collaborative and flexible working approach, e.g. working with in-house technical and other digital specialists -Approach to supporting teams to adopt new technologies -Examples of delivering transition, knowledge transfer and handover of code. -An appreciation for the importance of technical documentation as a means of ensuring ongoing maintainability of systems. -Demonstrable commitment to a diverse working environment, with a team comprised of experts from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Assessment methods
Evaluation weighting
Technical competence 60% Cultural fit 20% Price 20%
Essential skills and experience
  • Ability to understand business needs and priorities and apply them to project planning
  • Excellent communication skills, translating technical relating to software engineering, delivery management and service management so that they are understood by all
  • Strategic overview of standards and technology, with the capacity of turning business problems into technical design
  • Have experience with using standards based ontologies/vocabularies, such as W3C PROV data model, Dublin Core and W3C ODRL
  • Have experience of working with RDF databases and SPARQL, for example AWS Neptune
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes
  • Have experience, knowledge and understanding of create resilient and secure systems using IAM in a cloud context
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience developing a user interface/front end to support non-expert, editorial engagement with RDF
  • Understanding of informational architecture in an archival context

Closing date for applications: 09/11/2020

Technical Architect/Developer to lead build of an alpha system for managing catalogue data using RDF (TA)

Closing date for applications: 09/11/2020

Specialist role:

Technical Architect


No specific location, for example they can work remotely


The National Archives

Maximum day rate:


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